Hi Barista exchange,

I am brewing an espresso blend equal parts brazil, El Salvador, and Papua New Guinea. When it is pulling right it has bright, citrus tones throughout with a deep spicy body that finishes with a coca and lingers. Usually I find that taste from 18.5g in, 32-36g out with an extraction time of around 25 seconds. Obviously this changes daily, and with every bag, and every shot; as is the natural product of working with organic plant matter. Anyway, the problem I am having is this: once every few weeks the grinder will make loud crunching noises as it grinds, and from that point on everything seems to be extremely inconsistent. I weigh the dose for every shot, and after the anomaly with the grinder the espresso seems to be doing whatever it feels like. Has anyone experienced this before? Or have a theory as to possible causes? Or am I totally losing my mind?

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What kind of grinder are you using? I'm having a similar issue and I think it's related to static issues with the Mazzer kony E. it happens with single origins, blends and while using different coffee roasters. The problem is inconsistent and has happened about three times in the three months I've had the grinder.
I'm using a mazzer major E

Sounds like some small rocks were in the coffee.  Big rocks would have bound up the burrs.  The inconsistencies would come from the damage the little rocks did to the cutting teeth on the burrs and would even out after a week or so of grinding through more coffee.  Have you taken the burrs apart and cleaned the inside of the grinding chamber?  You might want to take a look and see if the burrs look damaged at all.  You should be cleaning out the grind chamber at least weekly anyway.

+1 on the rock. This is extremely common (especially with Papuas). I'd be willing to bet that it's accompanied by a small amount of tiny white particles in the ground espresso. Not much you can do about that except to do a quick visual on the espresso as you're filling the hopper. You might also try keeping a small shopvac ($25 at Lowes) handy, turn off the grinder as soon as you hear the noise, remove the hopper and suck out the grind chamber quickly. If you know what you're doing, you can do this and be back to pulling shots in under a minute. Small price to pay to extend the life of some expensive burrs.

I'm also with Mike on checking your burrs - rocks will certainly reduce their life.

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